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Nutrition
Raw or Cooked?

In the past few years, there has been the controversey of whether or not raw food is better than cooked. Some veterinarians swear by raw diets, while others may oppose them. According to Elizabeth Lee in her article, "Raw Dog Food: Dietary Concerns, Benefits, and Risks." Here are a few pros and cons, as with everything, to think about:

Pros
  • Shinier coats
  • Healthier skin
  • Cleaner teeth
  • Higher energy levels
  • Smaller stools
Cons
  • Threats to human and dog health from bacteria in raw meat
  • An unbalanced diet that may damage the health of dogs if given for an extended period
  • Potential for whole bones to choke an animal, break teeth or cause an internal puncture

After reviewing the list of Cons, they need to be considered; however, they cannot be taken to heart for these reasons. The biggest threat is bacteria in raw meat. We're all at risk. The only solution is to buy your raw meat from butchers or reputable organic stores that guarantee fresh, clean meat. However, most often, if there is bacteria, dogs digestive systems are built to counteract bacteria. If your dog already has a weak stomach, he/she can be treated with probiotics to strengthen it. The only problem is if your dog's auto immune system is already in jeopardy. Hopefully, you are already taking precautions on what you feed him/her.

The last objection referring to bones may cause a dog to "choke, break teeth, or cause an internal puncture" is absolutely false. These problems occur with cooked bones. Cooking takes out the moisture causing bones to become brittle. In fact, you can feed your dog raw chicken bones. The bones slides down their throats and are easily digested. However, If they are weight-bearing bones from large ungulates, which are usually sold as soup bones, they can break teeth.

Lee's second objection is in reference to maintaining a balanced diet. Would you eat an imbalanced diet? Would you feed your child an imbalanced diet? I would hope you would say no to either of these questions. All living things must have balance in their lives in order to live. We dog owners object when our dogs eat horse shit and some of us won't allow them to eat grass. There are nutrients and vitamins in both of these "foods." If a dog isn't getting the nutrients, minerals, and vitamins that his/her body is needing, they will go elsewhere to get them. Don't plunge head on into a raw diet. If you and your veterinarian believe it is the best diet for your dog remember to take it slow. It is a process and if you ignore the process, your dog could become very sick and unhappy.

Today's percentage rate of products in a raw food diet is 40% protein and 50% fruits and vegetables. I played it safe with my dog and decided to give her a 50% raw diet for lunch and commercial kibble for her dinner. That way, she received everything she needed. There are dog nutritionists out there, who specialize in it. The only one I am familiar with is Joyce Puchyr. You may contact her at 315.699.2479 in the evening, or contact her via email at Nutritional Counseling appointment If anyone can recommend others, please do so in our Good Nutrition forum so that I can build a directory for good canine nutritionists.

Instead of arguing whether or not your dog should be fed a raw vs cooked diet, it is more important to know what your dog's body can tolerate and stick with it, even if a veterinarian is telling you something different. I did not do this. To this day, I regret it. My baby could not eat beef. She could, however, eat pork and poultry. If she ate beef, she became very ill. Instead of listening to what I already knew, I followed the vet's advice to give her raw hamburger, after she had become sick and was no longer eating, desperately hoping that she would be healed. Instead, she crossed over. Here is a book that provides information on both raw and cooked diets for dogs. The author includes many recipes as well that you can follow.

K9 Kitchen - Your Dogs' Diet:
The Truth Behind The Hype, 2nd Edition
Item: DN211

Cutting through the current myths that surround home-prepared canine diets, this book presents facts as well as respectful consideration to feeding each dog as an individual. The book provides 60 diet plans (20 cooked, 20 raw and 20 combination diets), the NRC 2006 nutrient requirements for adult dogs, and a step-by-step guideline to help the reader formulate a balanced diet.

Rating:

A Word about Dry Food (Kibble)

There is so much to know and understand about your dog's diet. With so many dry dog food choices on the market today, it can be a challenge in finding dog food that is safe to feed your dog. However, I am providing you with a dog food grading exercise to determine how strong your food is in the area of nutrition. I hope you will be as surprised as I was. This handout is copyrighted by Rocky Mountain School of Animal Acupuncture and Massage.

Dog Food Grading Scale

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